Hackers hijack PornHub ads to infect 'millions'

Hackers hijack PornHub ads to infect 'millions'

The KovCoreG group used ads placed through the TrafficJunky online adult advertising network to redirect users to scam sites, attempted to download and install the Kovter malware if users clicked on them. While Chrome and Firefox users were asked to click on such links to update their browsers with the latest fixes, Microsoft Edge users were offered an update to the Adobe Flash Player. There were variations for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

"The combination of large malvertising campaigns on very high-ranking websites with sophisticated social engineering schemes that convince users to infect themselves means that potential exposure to malware is quite high, reaching millions of web surfers", the researchers wrote in a report of their findings.

The KovCoreG used ISP and geographical-based filters to isolate only the users they wanted to attack. In instances like this, it is often the advertising network that was more directly targeted, rather than the website in question.

As a result it remained undetected for more than a year, and is believed to continue elsewhere, Proofpoint said. And although most of us practice safe browsing, with plenty of virus protection to guard us, our personal information, and our computers, the reality is that with advanced viruses created by hackers like the group supposedly responsible for this attack, KovCoreG, it's becoming increasingly more hard to know if you've been infected.

A cybersecurity firm confirmed Pornhub was affected by a malicious software (malware) for more than a year and may have affected millions of the adult website's subscribers.

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"This discovery underscores that threat actors follow the money and continue to flawless combinations of social engineering, targeting, and pre-filtering to infect new victims".

A spokesperson for PornHub told Newsweek that the website "acted swiftly" to remove the infected content and eliminate the risk to users who may be tricked into installing malicious updates. "Clickbots" could even be installed to interact with ads online.

ProofPoint had this chilling warning to say about the well concealed attack on PornHub and its users: "While the payload in this case is ad fraud malware, it could just as easily have been ransomware, an information stealer, or any other malware".

According to Epstein this only confirms that attackers will always follow the money, and to do so they will continue to create and ideal combinations of techniques involving social engineering, targeting, and pre-filtering to affect as many users as possible.

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